Prayers for the Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost (C) – Sunday, September 15th, 2013

1 Timothy 1:12-17
Luke 15:1-10*

Call to Worship:
Leader:         Sing to the Lord a new song. Today is the day of our salvation!
People:        For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!
Leader:         Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad!
People:        What was lost has been found! The dead has come to life!
All:                 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised!
- Prepared by Michael Howard. From Psalm 96 and Luke 15.

Opening Prayer:
O God who is greater than our hearts,
our hearts are ever restless until we find rest in you.
Without you we are lost and unable to please you.
When we are lost and wander alone in the world,
your mercy beckons us and your grace always finds us;
For heaven and earth rejoice when one of your lost is found.
Mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit
may in all things direct and rule our hearts.
Through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
one God, now and forever.
-Prepared by Michael Howard from 1 John 3:20, Luke 15, and St. Augustine’s Confessions.

Prayer of Confession
O holy and merciful God,
we confess that we have turned our eyes off of you.
We have drifted from your guidance,
and we are no longer living in pursuit of your Kingdom.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
we have broken your law,
we have rebelled against your love,
we have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us we pray.
Rescue us, your beloved ones, from this lonely place of wandering
and free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Adapted by Michael Howard, based on Luke 15 and UMBOW 33, “Service of Word and Table 1”.

Words of Assurance
Leader: Behold the depth of the love of our God! Hear the good news of the gospel of life: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
People: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
All:         Glory to God in the highest! Amen!
- Prepared by Michael Howard.

Prayer for Illumination
Gracious God, you are always more willing to give than we are to receive.
As the scripture is read and your message is proclaimed,
by the power of your pursuing grace,
open our hearts and our minds to your love,
that regardless of the distances our hearts have drifted,
we may be recipients of your love
and transformed by your word.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
-Prepared by Michael Anthony Howard.

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